By Reptilian-Angel

ME: I'll spare any readers who come across this and actually take the time to read it the babble and the balderdash about how this is literally the second piece of writing that I've actually written and worked on ALL YEAR LONG (Internally cringes) and how I'm glad to finally be able to finish this piece and get on online because I'm a little short on time before the due date of this contest I'm participating in.

. . . . . . . . I'm a putz.

Anyway, I own nothing and please enjoy!

Nainso was only aware of two things when he woke up. The first thing was that the sky was on the ground. And the second was that either Igrath or Grunn had landed on him last night because everything just hurt.

He leaned up, or tried to at least, only to realize a breadth too late that it was him upside down instead of the ground. He quickly found himself face-flat on the floor, the legs of the stool he had lucidly flopped upon at some point the evening prior screeching harshly against the floor. The pain within him was numb until two minutes of semi-consciousness passed, then suddenly his skull felt like it had been cracked open like a bottle, his spine ached from the odd slinky-like position he slept in, even all the markings from the tips of his ears to the tip of his tail rattled like hammered metal sheets. Nainso groaned and then groaned again as that simple sound vibrated his temple as though a gong was ringing inside his head.

He very slowly pushed himself back to his feet, bringing a hand up to wipe away some of the grogginess and agony, and blinking when he felt something hard, small and sticky stop it at his cheek. He tugged at it, succeeding with a wince at the patch of fur ripped away with it and a yowl of protest from his brain from the abuse, looked and stared befuddled at what he believed was a bright green sour-ball. How in the world did that get – ?

The piece of candy fell from his hand in a clatter as he looked up and balked at the shambles of what was once Scinter's nightclub.

Tables were thrown over and about like an indoor game of Rim-Roll had gone awry, two of which were even splintered along with a disturbing amount of smashed, oozing orange pumpkins. Flickering and/or busted lights that he sworn were sparking enough to make any health inspector nervous lit the bar like patch work, torn tapestries were littered among the floor or ontop other DreamKeepers who were just as awake and lucid as he was, using them as make-shift blankets. Water tubes that had connected to the massive tank that made up the ceiling had been ripped open and were now streaming freely into the club's interier. Nainso would've commented on the waterfall now flowing off Bill's head and into his precious, discarded hat as he slept serenely on a spare table, in spite of the obvious swelling on one half of his face, were it not for his headache.

He wasn't sure how many other Troika members were there, but he could see the tips of Woods's antlers from the edge of the bar, the buck himself snoring heavily as he was draped haphazardly on the counter. If he really focused, he could see Igrath's left foot abruptly sticking out of one of the privacy booths, along with two long streams of furry orange, easily indicating where The Indigo Twins were sleeping off their hangover. Even with the dizzying fuzziness doubling his line of sight, Vi's bright pink fur was easy to discern, the lieutenant herself peacefully sleeping beside Bill, her head cushioned on his splayed arm as an empty bottle dangled limply from her fingers; Bobby, seated not too far away, leaned far back in his chair, his neon spots and colors making it impossible for Nainso to keep his eyes on him for more than a few seconds, even in the low, and frankly poor light of the bar. What other DreamKeepers he couldn't exactly identify from mere moving lumps of shadows lay hither and yon, flat on the floor, thrown over tables, some unfortunately face flat in spilled pumpkin guts and even one sleeping off their hangover against one of the stripper poles, drooling blissfully unawares.

Aside from the sizzling electrical sparks and the dripping of water, the only other sound in the room was the melodious sound of snores, drowsy curses and the random expulsion of gas that he had yet to smell, thank the Spirits for small favors. He groaned as another gong-like ring trilled in between his ears. Of course, he wouldn't have minded if his substance induced nap had lasted a little longer . . .

"Finally awake, are we?"

Nainso jumped in place at that simple, yet slightly sardonic question, his hands flying to his stomach as it churned in protest at the sudden motion as a weak moan came out of his mouth. Cracking one screwed shut eye open, Namah's glittering green eyes floated in sharp contrast of the dark as they arched down at him with a somewhat blase' manner. "Y'know, normally Igrath or Vi's the Keeper I'd expect to drink every other low-class smhuck under the table but you surprised me."

It took a minute or two for her words to fully register in his mind. "W-What?"

She let out a short sound with a smirk. "Who'd have thought that the bureaucrat tomcat would come out on top in the end. I bet that you could even give ol' Scinter a run for his lucre' if he ever did that sort of thing."

"Namah -" He let out a small "Oof" as he stood up, the muscles of his legs suddenly jelly as he pulled himself onto his feet. "- What are you talking about?"

She sighed at his slow, pitiful effort to stand and offered mercy by helping him up onto another stool and keeping a steady hand on his back before giving him a sneaky grin. "I'm talking about Karo's instantaneous announcement about the Troika's "Yearly Annual Last DK Standing" Fermentae Drinking contest, something I wasn't even aware existed until last night, as was everyone else. About how, in spite of which, Karo pulled everyone in by the promise of a prize of three hundred lucre' and, as he put it, "bragging rights" for a fortnight, which I'm still not sure how long is and doubt even he knows. Regardless, everyone was in and did indeed drink to the last DK standing, more or less. Two guesses on who that was."

"What, you, you mean m-me?"

Namah rolled her eyes. "No, your long-lost twin brother who finally showed up after, what seventy years? At least, I'm assuming that's how old you are, you never really talk about yourself so . . ."

Nainso groaned once again, not from the pain this time. "Namah, please, I feel akin to a failed attempt at jumping off the Sky Road with no parachute, I'm begging you, just get to the point."

"Alright, alright, since you're hammered, here's the sum up. Contest starts, Scinter's Mark the chosen brand, two to three drinks in, Vustag and Rolph are the first casualties, four and half drinks in, Marvin's out, surprise, surprise, six drinks, Pepito and Sage follow in spectacular fashion, seven drinks, Damon and Woods tap out with what dignity they still had taking in the fact that they both were completely shit-faced; Eight drinks in is where things get interesting, once Bobby takes a breather and is automatically disqualified when he deftly falls into slumber, the remaining contestants being Karo, Vi, Tia, Bill, believe it or not, Silk, the Indigos and Igrath - Again, surprise, surprise. - And of course, you truly, duking it out in the sudden death round.

In short, drinks were chugged, clothes were spilled upon, words were exchanged, Vi got pissed off at someone for some reason, words were shot back, a fist was thrown, then all hell broke loose. Bill got a black eye, Karo got his nose broken, Igrath missed a swing, lost his balance, hit his head on a table, then broke it, a lot funnier than it sounds considering he started tweeting like a Butterfly Owl even as the twins tried to get him back up, helluva lot good that did since they couldn't stay upright either; Silk started for ladies' room mid-brawl with Tia who joined her not too long after, leaving you the winner since you were the only one still drinking despite all the hullabaloo."

" . . . . What?"

"What am I speaking, Ancient DreamKeeper here? You won, So-So, by a sheer ten drinks of Scinter's finest alone. A rather impressive feat by minimum standards. Not that it mattered in the end, I doubt anyone's gonna remember tonight, especially after you took that three hundred lucre' and spent it all on drinks to whoever else was still awake and obviously not sober. Also, there might be a distinct possibility you paid off a hooker with what was left in your wallet, without her actually needing to do anything in return."

" . . . What?!"

"I mean, except for those first few minutes where you decided to use her . . . What did you call them again, oh right, her "Lovely Mounds" as your personal pillow for ten minutes before she finally managed to cut and run."


Namah's grin was frightfully similar to that of the ruined Jack-o-Lantern's as she hopped up onto her own stool and propped both arms onto the bar. "Oh, I know. I never would have expected such scandalous behavior from the Troika's most reserved and classy member, you shady old tomcat, you. You've been holding out on all of us."

Nainso gaped at her. "WHAT?!"

Namah snorted. "Igrath will probably think it's funny as hell once he's coherent enough to hold a conversation with. Oh, the blood that'll be spilled . . ." Nainso, ringing in his ears aside, could practically hear the glee radiating that statement.

That in mind, he took in a deep breath and managed to push back the pounding in his head and the rest of his aches and pains for a moment, so he could straighten out his now noticeable splayed collar lapels, askew-ed tie, and flatten down his sleep-tousled fur. "Yes, I'm sure he would, Namah," He made a face as he felt yet another stick, hard object stuck on the back of his head, quickly tearing off the now fur-covered lollipop aside and ignoring the sting of another patch gone. "If you could provide substantial evidence to back your claim. Otherwise, it's nothing more than a fantastical rumor." That being said, he turned in his seat to make for the men's room to properly assess the damage done to his person, but Namah surprised him by lunging forward, her chin landing on his shoulder and arms extended in front of them both.

"Whatcha think I've been doing during all this, sitting pretty?" Without warning, the info-scroll unfurled, it's agonizingly bright surface blinding him for one minute before clearing to reveal something he wished he didn't.

A glaring obvious photo of himself, even more obviously drunk out of his mind, nestled from the neck up in the stupendously large cleavage of a practically illegally, scantily-clad cat DreamKeeper, her bright pink and orange colored pelt glaring back at him and adding to the flush of warmth sprouted from nowhere and growing on his face. The woman herself seemed somewhat amused, perhaps due to one sly hand that had snuck to the lower corner of the picture and was in the process of slipping his wallet from his vest pocket.

Totally not oblivious to his growing shock and horror, Namah then piped up. "If you think this is something, wait until you see what you did with Grunn." With that, she swiped a finger across the screen, revealing another picture that sent him reeling back in fright.

As well as his stomach, who finally had enough and made itself known by an all-too familiar feeling sensation climbing up his throat.

As Nainso instantly swung himself forward and promptly emptied the contents of his stomach stocked from the previous month onto his new loafers, he could barely hear Namah's awfully cheerful reassurance. "Don't worry, I'm sure there's a way to get that tattoo off! That's what lotions are for, right?"


ME: I just love writing Nainso and Namah together. Don't know why, but it's so much fun.